Monday, July 18, 2011

doing the dishes

Hey beautiful people, 

I hope you've had a full week of love and compassion, colours and liveliness!

A quick caveat: As I dream and think on these ideas through the week, I'm faced with the inevitability that including everyone in each 'something' is impossible. So, I'll put it to you: if you feel as though there's a 'hole', perhaps that hole is who you are to be thinking on for the week. Know what I mean jelly bean? ;)

I think it's funny how different things stick to our memories and other things don't. And this week, one of those funny sticky memories bubbled up to the surface and made me pause. 

I've been to Africa on three occasions and I can easily say that it is my favorite place I've ever dreamed of and been to. When I was in my early twenties, I ventured to Kenya with a troupe of young adults wanting to love on African people. I was blessed beyond measure by the graciousness and kindness of the people we met there. 

Being one of the leaders, I tended to stay back some days and prepare stuff or finish things up. One day there was a whole bunch of dishes that got left behind due to the group needing to be somewhere earlier than anticipated. So I filled up one of the kettles with water, lit a match, started the stove, and began warming up the water to do the task at hand. I was hunched over and scraping the dishes clean when one of our local friends popped in to say hello. She was a lovely woman who was thoughtful and helpful and we chatted happily on the beautiful morning. 

I was busy scraping away while we were talking and before I'd realized what was happening, she had washed half of my dishes in the freezing cold water! I quickly started to dry them to seem a least a little helpful!! There was no stopping her at this point, and lickety-split, the dishes were done. We finished up our chat, she was off to do an errand and I giggled to myself while walking back from saying good-bye. I headed over to the stove to turn off the burner, and noticed that the water hadn't even begun to boil. 

photo cred: BAUMGART foto

It hadn't even occurred to me to do the dishes in cold water - I of course thought they'd get cleaner in hot. And frankly, my super-smart-husband may tell me that that's the case. But that's not the point. The point, this week anyway, is that there are a lot of people that don't have the same 'ease-of-use' lifestyle that we do. 

(I'm making a grand assumption that most of my team of people are from first-world places. Or to put it a simpler way, places with easily-accessed-clean-running-water, cold and hot.)

Now, these people may not see not having hot tap water as a deficit, and it's true, there are harder things in life. But it causes me to pause. My husband and I have many luxuries here in our home, and I'm incredibly thankful for them. This week, those luxuries begged me to pray for those that do not have them. It may not make their lives impossible, but in some ways, it can make their lives harder. More challenging, more taxing. 

I like being able to stand upright at my sink, turn on the hot water tap, and wash my dishes. (Or some of you may even be blessed with dishwashers!! Lucky ducks!) I wonder what my friend would think of not having to crouch over a plastic bowl on the dirt ground washing her dishes in cold water. 

Anyway, maybe this week isn't even about thinking/praying/sending-happy-thoughts to those people who don't have some of our luxuries. Perhaps it's about reminding ourselves that we're blessed beyond measure in even the simplest of things that we take for granted. 

However you choose to spend your happy-thought-sending-time this week, do it with a smile and a laugh at my silliness for not just washing those darn dishes in the cold water!!

love and hugs
sarah d. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

gossip boys and girls

Hey there.

Time for some honesty. 

As I walk through life day in and out, I encounter innumerable moments and circumstances, people and conversations. And every so often - frankly more than I'd like, but less than when I was younger - I have an urge that disappoints me. I have a desire to tell someone else what I've seen, heard, experienced or witnessed. 

Well that's not so bad, is it? Not necessarily. 

But it is when the purpose of that telling is to mock or disrespect a person, or place, or moment. 

We're human, and people are interesting. So it's fair that every so often we'll find ourselves telling our friends about our other friends, or celebrities, or no one in particular. But when that tone of mocking arrives, the line has been crossed. 

I was on my way home the other day and talking with someone on my bluetooth. The conversation had frustrated me and after hanging up the phone, I noted that my first inclination was to call a friend who would empathize with my frustration and likely share their frustrations of that person with me.  

Thankfully, I didn't call anyone. 
I drove home in silence, disappointed with myself. 

And once I got home, I thought about all the things that I adore and appreciate about the person who had frustrated me, and the ill-feelings slinked away as if defeated. 

photo cred  trs125

Words are incredibly powerful, and can be used for good, or for evil. If I knew others were speaking of me the way I speak of them sometimes, I would feel terrible. I would feel insulted. Ostracized. Hurt. 

And you know what? I don't want to do that to someone else. Ever again. 

The thing is, some people live like this. 
People are consistently and constantly speaking hurtful and harmful things of others (and themselves). 
People are filling their days with negativity and then spreading that to others around them. 

These people need thoughts of love and adoration. Of joy and laughter. 
Would you spread those happy thoughts with me?

And would you think of me this week and help me to stay on a positive path!! :)

Talk soon,
sarah d. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

moms, kids, drugs

This is a topic that has been haunting me for more than a week now and I was wanting to share it with you. 

Moms who have addictions to alcohol and drugs. 

Working in the Social Service industry has shown me a side of humanity that saddens me. 

People are overwhelmed.

They struggle day in and day out with the simplest of things, and are simultaneously weighed down with the mightiest of things. 

If we consider ourselves to be an 'it takes a village...' people, then allowing moms and families to suffer in silence almost seems like abuse. And unfortunately, my experience has been that because of the pain and turmoil they've been through, they commonly turn away any offered help. They do this because of embarrassment, pride, fear, confusion, culture or any other number of reasons. 

My hands feel tied. I so desperately want to help - love - support - hug - listen - cry with - make laugh these people that have been through so much, but my hands feel so bound. 

And yet my heart is not. 

So I will think on them, pray for them, give them love from afar for now, and right next to them when I can. I will support them as best I can in any given situation that comes my way and I will do more with every opportunity I'm given. 

photo cred sandrina2005

Some information from :

Families affected by alcoholism report higher levels of conflict than do families with no alcoholism. Drinking is the primary factor in family disruption. The environment of children of alcoholics has been characterized by lack of parenting, poor home management, and lack of family communication skills, thereby effectively robbing children of alcoholic parents of modeling or training on parenting skills or family effectiveness.

Children of addicted parents exhibit depression and depressive symptoms more frequently than do children from non-addicted families. Children of addicted parents are more likely to have anxiety disorders or to show anxiety symptoms.  Children of addicted parents are at high risk for elevated rates of psychiatric and psychosocial dysfunction, as well as for alcoholism.

Unbelievable amounts of information can be found on the topic of addictions and families everywhere online, at the library, and likely on your 'main street' downtown. If you're interested to learn more, go on the hunt and you'll find it. 

I'm hopeful for a new generation of young people that aren't dragged down into the muck of their parents generation. Making that happen means that the rest of us need to hold our hands out to these moms and their families, no matter how bound we feel. The simplest of efforts goes a long way in the life of another. 

The sentiment will not be lost. And nor will your love. 


sarah d. 

**Addendum: The 'info' that I've posted in from another website is simply that; information as collected by a certain group of people, in a certain way, that I can neither confirm nor deny has been peer reviewed or tested in any way. This is worthy of note, as stats and general info, as shared above, can be incredibly misleading. I was simply hoping to illustrate that there seems to be a pattern within the households of addicted moms/families, and these are some of what's been noted. 

That said, the issue is not the information, or the statistics, or the lack of peer reviewing, the issue is that people are struggling. Moms are drowning. Kids are suffering. And even in the tiniest ways, we can do something to help here and there, even if it's a happy thought from time to time, or a smile as we pass by.